Sunday, December 29, 2013

Baking: Banana Cookies with Coconut Oil Substitute

My sister and I recently made really amazing banana cookies.  We were hanging out at our grandma's apartment in Flushing when we spied super ripe bananas.  Well, that was enough to get the sisters going!

We got a little help from my cousin's little ones.
We only had 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, or half of the recipe's required amount.  But the day was saved when we substituted coconut oil (super easy because it's substituted at a 1:1 ratio).  I had never heard of coconut oil (though readers of this blog may know that I am slightly obsessed with coconuts) so when my sister unearthed a jar of it from the kitchen, well… we had to give it a go!

Despite how it sounds, and how it looks (more on this later) apparently coconut oil is VERY good for you - some articles tout that it is the BEST oil to use for cooking - take a look at this article.  I wonder if it is a bit overhyped but I was sufficiently intrigued to give it a go.  I bought a jar of coconut oil (this exact one) at Marshall's afterwards because now I want a nutty, sweet coconut flavor in (almost) everything I cook.  

The slightly disturbing thing about coconut oil is that it is solid at room temperature.  It has an incredibly low melting temperature - it melts at approximately 24 degrees Celsius, 76 degrees Fahrenheit - but that means that at room temperature, it is a solid jar of white.  To my inexperienced eye, it looks like a jar of lard, or a jar of solid candle wax.  So, it can be a little disconcerting, to say the least.

However, my first foray into the land of coconut oils has won me over.  Our cookies turned out great, and they smelled so delicious as they were baking.

Adapted from Simply Recipes:


1/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pecans

We skipped the ground nutmeg, cloves and pecans as I do not really like those things (and we did not have them handy).

How to Make:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  

2. In a big bowl, cream butter, coconut oil and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy.

3.  Mix the mashed bananas and baking soda, let sit for 2 minutes.

4. Mix the banana mixture into the butter, oil and sugar mixture.  

5.  In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and spices and sift into the banana, butter, oil and sugar mixture.  Mix until just combined.

6. Fold any pecans or nuts or any other accoutrements into the batter at this point.

7.  Drop in dollops onto parchment paper lined or greased cookie sheet.

8.  Bake for 12 minutes or until nicely golden brown.  Let cool.

The only part that was a little messy in this very simple recipe was dropping the batter onto the cookie sheet.  It was a little bit goop-y and wet and hard to control.  Added afterthought: It was also a little difficult to cream the coconut oil because it is solid at room temperature, so unlike the butter, which yielded after some patient pushing, there were still some hard coconut oil bits in the mixture when I declared myself done.  However, it did not seem to affect the end product in the least.

The top should brown nicely and the banana cookies will have a light coconut flavor.

Hope you like it.

Next thing I want to try is popcorn on the stovetop using coconut oil!  

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